Palliative care is a compassionate approach to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life limiting diseases.
This is achieved through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychological and spiritual issues.
At Bon Secours Cork Cancer Centre (BSCCC), palliative care is incorporated as a key component of patient services. Our palliative care service offers support and advice to the primary care consultant, primary care team and helps families to cope during and after the patient’s illness.
Palliative care is an advisory role and works in conjunction with other therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy in order to achieve a positive influence on the course of the illness. There are three levels of palliative care.
The Palliative Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) provides the highest level of specialist palliative care under the direction of a consultant clinical physician in palliative medicine.
To support patients, the specialist nurse has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of life limiting conditions and the delivery and management of pathological responses to loss and bereavement. There is an emphasis on communication skills to respond to the needs of the patient and their family in dealing with the diagnosis of a terminal or life limiting condition.
The aim is to provide guidance on making decisions about treatment and dealing with other practical issues to optimise comfort and quality of life. The palliative care CNS is an invaluable resource in supporting colleagues in the management of pain and other symptoms.